Recruitment is changing – with the integration of technology working to improve the accessibility, candidate experience, and speed of the process. Automated tools can now take over tasks such as sourcing candidates, scheduling interviews, and providing regular updates to candidates.
In April, we had a Supporters’ Network Event on the New Age of Recruitment, where we explored Artificial Intelligence, Algorithms, and the Internet of Things, and the ways in which employers are currently embracing this technology. Speakers provided guidance on how to understand and implement technology into recruitment – whilst discussing potential challenges and pitfalls. This blog summarises the key points from the event, with more information to be found in the full recording available on this page.
AI: AI is known as Artificial Intelligence. This is the ability of a computer/automated digital system to be able to perform tasks typically associated with human beings. Sometimes also known as Augmented Intelligence, which is a hybrid of digital automation and human involvement.
Algorithms: A set of instructions used to complete a task. In the context of automated recruitment, this may be the following example - the instruction provided to the computer that if a user is accepted at interview stage, the system would send them an automated email with a time and date.
The Internet of Things: The concept of connecting any device, to the internet and to other connected devices. It is a huge network of connected things and people, all of which collect and share data about how they are used, and their environments.
What are the benefits of using AI in recruitment?
The world of technology is changing quickly and growing. Global spending on AI is set to double within four years, with the expected spend to reach $110 billion, or £88 billion.
Within recruitment, AI can be used to perform multiple tasks including the filtering, shortlisting, and ranking of candidates. This can be particularly useful when there are multiple applications to sift through, allowing recruiters to become more efficient through the process of automation.
In theory, this could free up the time of recruiters to focus instead on the more ‘human’ elements of the recruitment process – conversations and interviews with applicants, while spending less time on the manual, and easily automated, tasks. Anything that is a predictable, repeatable action, can now be easily automated with the many products available.
This can not only benefit the organisation but the candidate, with the ability to automate communications meaning the candidate is not left in the dark when it comes to regular updates. Providing feedback to a huge number of candidates is also possible through the aid of automation, which otherwise may have seemed an impossible task.
While these conversations tend to come more often with larger organisations, with larger pools of candidates for roles than smaller ones, it’s still important for SME’s to consider moving forward as a general way to improve efficiency, and speed up the recruitment process.
What should employers be cautious of?
Whilst AI can increase diversity, reduce bias, and increase speed, it is not the panacea for any of these – and it ought to be used with caution. There are inevitable losses and gains, with the increased automation providing more efficiency, but a loss of control. It’s best to move slowly when starting with AI, allowing chance to learn potential pitfalls as they arise and take them a step at a time.
Potential pitfalls may include the amplification of inequalities, if not monitored correctly. For example, if the wording in a job advertisement is biased towards hiring men, the algorithms would amplify this and based on data of candidate responses, may stop displaying to women. Or an algorithm may be set to filter out candidates with gaps in employment, excluding those who’ve taken care or medical leave.
The nature of technology-based recruitment may also be exclusionary to those less comfortable with technology, for example older workers where there is already an employment gap. Being aware of this, employers could work to aid the process, for example by offering alternative recruitment entry routes. When starting with AI, it’s important to monitor the candidate pool that it’s picking up, and to check for any gaps in diversity.
Ultimately, recruitment is a social process, and applicants don’t want to feel as if they’ve been on an overly automated journey. If employers can automate some parts of the process, and as a result, allow more time for the important elements of human interaction, this would be the balance of Augmented Intelligence which employers should strive for.
What kind of AI products should employers be looking for?
When searching for the right product, employers must be clear on their goals. There is no singular product that can do everything – however, aspects of the recruitment process certainly have relevant tools that can help. If buying an external product, it’s important to be cautious that it may use external data, and so it’s crucial to take the process slowly until it’s the right fit for your organisation.
When advertising and sourcing candidates, it’s hard to avoid algorithms completely – all major websites make use of them to an extent, and anything inputted will be amplified to some degree. Embracing this technology is the new age of recruitment which, when harnessed correctly, can bring major benefits to an organisation.
- Doug Rode, Managing Director at Page Group
- John Hannen, CEO at GMCVO
- Hayfa Mohdzaini, Senior Research Adviser at CIPD